When Should I Book My Guide?

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“How far in advance should we book?” This is a common question we hear at ToursByLocals. Our general rule of thumb is to book as soon as you have your dates! At least a month in advance is sufficient for most places; this usually gives you enough time to secure a great guide, and gives the guide enough time to customize any details of the day.

But a more apt response is really: “It depends!” There are several factors that go into figuring out the optimal time to book.

Location: Guides in some places are extremely high in demand – more details on that below!
Timing: Dates get snatched up quickly in high season.
Shore excursions: If you’re coming into port on a cruise ship, you can expect that many guides will be busy on this day! Book as soon as you can.
Flexibility: If you have your heart set on a specific guide, your chances of securing that person on a specific date are better the sooner you book.

While the “month in advance” rule of thumb is in general a reasonable one, we often see (very organized!) travellers booking well over a year in advance, and we see some more last minute travellers booking a day or two before they want to meet their guide. Hint: if you’re one of the last minute ones, call our office to get some behind the scenes help in making the tour happen.

We work diligently to make sure we have a strong team of guides available in all of our busiest destinations. That being said, there are a few places where demand exceeds availability!

So where are the most in-demand places you’ll want to book your ToursByLocals guide early?

• Spring, Summer and early Fall in Normandy, France. Tours of the D-Day Beaches are immensely popular.
• Springtime (cherry blossom season) in Japan.
• Carnival time in Rio de Janeiro.
• Mid-April to early May in the Netherlands, when tulips are in bloom.
Alaska during the summer cruise season. (Make sure to book far in advance for ANY cruise docking.)

Your best bet really is to book as soon as possible to secure your date. Our basic Cancellation Policy allows you to cancel your tour anytime up to 60 days in advance with no penalty, so there's nothing to lose by being prepared.

Happy trip planning…and happy travels!
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